I thought I was going to be a dribbling mess of tears and snot before I started, failing to avoid much of the praise around everything about Andrew Haigh's new movie, starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, but it didn't hit me in quite the right spot to set off the waterworks. This might say more about me than the film, but here we are, dry-eyed, nonetheless.
I felt it though, don't get me wrong, in that very quiet place that holds yourself together, even in light of a recognition that was as familiarly comforting as it was personally tragic and regretful. It may be the very fact that I don't know of anyone who has a perfect relationship with everyone they know, be it parents, siblings, friends or lovers. I am quite sure that this is not unique to my circle of connections, such was the recognition from many about their own lives, which may fully, or even tangentially, mirror the story here.
Haigh's form is highbrow and unapologetic already, with a panache for not bowing to what sells, in favour of what he feels is right. A trait he should be admired for, given he has the skills to pull it off eloquently enough to make your soul tingle.
Scott and Mescal are inarguably terrific as the two-become-one neighbours, each with enough emotional baggage to make your mental beast of burden suitably concerned. The question prior to watching this wasn't if it was going to be any good. That was never in doubt, but more about whether I wanted to tether my consciousness to turmoil I had no control over, but would still possibly be beaten to a pulp by, metaphorically speaking.
You could argue that this should come with a warning and a contact number for emergencies such was its depth and resonance. The fact that it didn't would suggest that Haigh has got this just about right and I would agree. Not for everyone, for a number of reasons, but personally I am glad I braved a viewing, coming out mostly unscathed. I think I might need therapy more now than I did when I started, however.